In my last post, I talked about my fears of social media and our kids online. It got me thinking about the internet and technology in general. I’m in no way a dinosaur, stuck in the memories of yesteryear when we wrote each other letters by hand and called people on an actual telephone!
In fact, I’m really excited about the involvement of the internet and computers in our kids’ lives, learning and futures. It’s been a Godsend when it comes to homework – Google has helped me with Ella’s homework on more than one occasion!
The future is online
I also love the addition of the internet to their learning at school. Google Classrooms is a great tool and the educational sites available now to accompany their classroom learning are perfect for those days where they want some screen time, but you don’t just want hours of mind-numbing games being played.
It’s so important for our kids to be computer literate, but at the same time it’s even more important for them to understand the risks associated with the internet. One of my teacher friends hosts regular internet safety talks for the parents at her school which I have been to and were a real eye-opener for me. If we, as parents, are aware of the risks facing kids online and how to mitigate these risks, we can pass on our knowledge to our children.
The internet has limitless potential. They have an answer to every question right there at their fingertips as well as access to games, music, entertainment, research – and the list goes on. I was excited when my parents got the entire Encarta encyclopedia series on a CD Rom, my kids have that and so, so much more available at the click of a button.
If it is managed right, the internet will be a constant source of wonder for them. But as I previously talked about, it is up to us to manage our kids online.
My eldest, Ella, has dyslexia and the internet has helped both myself and Chas understand the implications of this as well as understanding more about it in general. There are so many resources available for her which provide fun activities, learning aids and information to help her understand and overcome the difficulties involved. She is currently completing a touch typing course which will help her keep up in class. She finds writing exhausting. She has to focus so hard on the actual act of writing that she often loses focus on the topic she is writing about. Once she is proficient at touch typing, this will no longer be an issue. She will not be too tired to be self-critical of her work and she will be able to tell her stories in as much detail as she wants – not limiting them because she can’t process her thoughts quickly if she has to write.
Without the internet, a touch-typing course for a 9-year-old would have been impossible to find in Chiang Mai!
In order to succeed in life, our kids need to be tech-savvy. The world has moved online and not just online, but mobile. However, there can still, and should still, be a balance. Kids are still kids and should still run around, get dirty, ride bikes, swim, dance, paint, draw, read books, build and make. The internet should never take over from these practical and fun activities. It should be an addition to other activities in their life.